Dear Stay at Home Mom

Dear Stay at Home Mom,

Our lives are completely different. I work in an office; you work at home. My work includes meetings, emails, spreadsheets, and PowerPoint (So. Much. PowerPoint). Your work includes diapers, meals that end up on the floor, endless toy messes, and entertaining tiny dictators. I spend my days wishing I were with my kids. You spend yours enjoying yours {and battling them, too} but longing for adult interaction – sometimes feeling isolated and alone.

Sometimes, I get to eat breakfast and lunch (not every day, but most days). Most days, you are so busy chasing littles that you either forget to eat or just don’t have the time. I get to shower every day – not always the case for you. I sit in traffic every evening, anxious to see my family; you wait anxiously for someone to rescue you so that you can pee alone.

You see, SAHM, while we may not have much in common, I get it. I get that being a SAHM is a calling and that your life has great meaning and purpose. I get why you cringe every time someone asks, What do you do all day? I get that you sometimes want so badly to feel like you’re more than “just” a SAHM {the word “just” shouldn’t ever be used in that sentence, by the way}. I get that you never know what to say when people ask why you chose to stay home with your kids because you’re afraid your answer will offend us working moms. I get it. I get you.

I get that you endure judgment if you spend your “free” time on social media instead of doing laundry. I get why you’re on your cell phone at the park, in desperate need of a break while your kids run off their energy – and I get that people on the internet are mean when you do this and make assumptions about your parenting. I get why you count down the minutes until bedtime so that you can finally have some time for yourself {I do this, too, SAHM}.

I get why going to the grocery store is part of your job and is such a struggle – I see you trying so hard to get what you need and get the heck out of there before someone erupts into a public meltdown. I get it. I’ll be sure to stop, give you an understanding smile, and tell you that you’re doing it right, SAHM.

I also get that society puts ridiculous standards on us women; if we stay home we’re wasting our potential but if we work outside of the home we’re neglecting our kids. Both ideas are crap. You made the right choice for your family, SAHM.

I get that your job doesn’t come with tangible pay or vacation time. I get that you feel guilty for needing time away for yourself. I get that there’s no such thing as a “sick day.”

I get that your job is hard.

SAHM, you’re not just a babysitter. You’re a world builder armed in yoga pants, dirty t-shirts, and a messy bun. The work you do day-in and day-out shapes and builds the world of the little ones you’re raising. Their reality is the one you create for them every day. And that’s hard, serious, meaningful work.

Our lives may be very different but we have more in common than you think. We both love our babies, want the best for them, and give them all of our best selves. Motherhood is hard, regardless of where/how we do it.

Next time you’re feeling alone, SAHM, know that while I may be on the 18th floor of a downtown high-rise office building, I get you. I respect you.

So go on and build that world, SAHM.
The days are long but the years are short.
You’re doing a great job.

This post was republished with permission on the Huffington Post under the title, “An Open Letter to Stay-at-Home Moms from a Working Mom“. It was also republished with permission on MummyPages and MagicMum.

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56 Comments

  1. March 1, 2017 / 2:22 pm

    This is one of the most thoughtful post I have ever read. Well done, Shannon! I’m sharing this on my Facebook page! XOXO

    • Shannnon
      March 1, 2017 / 5:04 pm

      I’m so glad you like it! Thank you SO much!!

  2. January 29, 2017 / 11:02 pm

    Thank you! This spoke to me, as a working mom turned SAHM both worlds are hard and neither is right or wrong! We just need to understand each other and stop judging.

    Xo,

    Mol

    • Shannnon
      January 29, 2017 / 11:04 pm

      Yes! Thank you so much for reading, Molly!

  3. Sarah
    December 6, 2016 / 10:49 pm

    Thanks for your article! It is greatly appreciated that we can respect other moms whether they go to work or do their work at home.

    • December 7, 2016 / 12:27 am

      Thank you for reading! We all have a tough job!

  4. November 28, 2016 / 3:09 pm

    Oh my gosh this is so poignant! I’m a part time working mom so throughout the week I fluctuate between SAHM mode and the shower, daycare, work, dinner, bedtime routine. You are so right when you say we’re all much more alike than we realize. Thanks for writing this.

    • November 28, 2016 / 3:12 pm

      Thank you for reading! It’s a complicated dance, for sure!

  5. Lu
    November 20, 2016 / 11:06 am

    Thank you so much for this!! As a SAHM I so often feel the ways you described, and don’t find it easy often although its a choice i have made so feel guilty feeling that way too..it means so much to hear words like yours 🙂 And I appreciate always how hard it must be for working mums..whether its their choice or not…you do an amazing job!!

    • November 21, 2016 / 12:47 am

      Thanks so much for reading and sharing your thoughts! Motherhood is a tough job!

  6. November 19, 2016 / 3:30 pm

    It is absolutely incredible how you captured this picture without a hint of judgement. I have been on both sides of this spectrum, and I feel exactly the same way that you described both types of moms here. I cannot fault the women who work because I used to be there – God gave me a new assignment to be home and take care of my family in this way. Did we sacrifice the extra income? Absolutely. But we were all given unique abilities to impress upon both our families and the rest of the world. Thank you Shannon for bringing both sides together. This article really blessed me.

    • November 20, 2016 / 12:21 am

      Thank you, Jenn! Being a mom is hard regardless of where/how your time is spent. I have so much respect for SAHM’s and for Working Moms, too (of course). Thanks for reading and for sharing your thoughts!

  7. Michelle Winter
    November 13, 2016 / 10:16 am

    This brought a tear to my eye and a smile to my lips. Thank you for taking the time to write this.

    • November 13, 2016 / 11:04 am

      Thank you for reading!! I’m so glad it resonated with you!

  8. November 3, 2016 / 12:15 am

    Shannon, wow, this was such a nice post. Years ago I was in a secretary in Corporate America, but for a LONG time now I’ve been a stay at home married mom. My daughter is 17 now and is finished with homeschool. Even so, I loved the part of this post where you said, I especially love where you said, “Our lives may be very different but we have more in common than you think. We both love our babies, want the best for them, and give them all of our best selves. Motherhood is hard, regardless of where/how we do it.” I’m going to post that quote and this post on Facebook.
    – Sophie

    • November 3, 2016 / 12:43 am

      Thank you, Sophie! I appreciate your reading and sharing your thoughts with me! I appreciate the support so much!!

  9. October 17, 2016 / 5:45 pm

    Thank you! This was so awesome. I just kept thinking about halfway through that you were going to comment something… something to denote that working was better or don’t look down on working moms or well y’know. That gets me so much, we are the same just opposite sides of the coin. This was such a kind-hearted post that I’m just going to tweet and retweet this a few times.

    • October 17, 2016 / 5:48 pm

      Thank you so much for reading, Rose! When I wrote this I thought it was so important to not do what so many others do. Motherhood is hard regardless of how we spend our days… it’s just that my hard things may be different than yours. We’re all in it together! Thanks for the love and the shares! xo

  10. Lili
    October 5, 2016 / 1:45 pm

    Awesome post. I smiled and laughed reading this. I read both of your open “letters” for moms and first of all, have to give you credits for such great, inspiring, motivational, and well written posts, you have talent and most importantly, you connect with readers. Second of all I loved it because obviously I relate to this one (I am SAHM) more now, but I’ve been a working mom and you are very clever on both positions. Both ways (actually ANY way) is hard, challenging, but definitely rewarding. You’ve gone through very rough paths on your journey as a mom and have to give you kudos to you for balancing everything, including keeping yourself as an active blogger (I’m sure it helps you more that what we think). I need to start reading that chapter in the book of moms, to help me with balancing mine, lol…keep it up!!!!

    • October 7, 2016 / 12:05 am

      Hi Lili! Thank you SO much for reading and for your kind words. I’m so happy you can relate and it means so much that you took the time to comment. Thank you!!

  11. September 13, 2016 / 11:50 pm

    I’m a SAHM and I needed this. Beautifully written and KIND!! 🙂 Thank you!

    • September 13, 2016 / 11:58 pm

      Thanks so much for reading! I’m so glad you liked it!!

  12. September 13, 2016 / 12:44 pm

    Wow. I needed to read this..today and every day. Lol. Thank you so much for your encouraging words. You are an excellent writer Shannon! I really enjoyed this post and your blog. Being a mom is tough…especially when your child is crying for the 5th time this morning for no reason other than being in need of a nap. It’s been a rough morning for us. Lol.

    Thank you again for your post. Keep writing and doing what you do. You are doing a great job working mama! 😉

    • September 13, 2016 / 1:30 pm

      Thank you so much, Taylor! I’m so glad you enjoyed it and that it was meaningful to you – the life of a SAHM is one full of so many mixed emotions, I imagine. Keep it up, Mama! You can do it!! xo

  13. August 9, 2016 / 6:05 pm

    I could probably write a post on like “20 reason why I love this girl’s post…” haha
    Most working mom’s battle SAHM. and most SAHM’s battle working mom’s. This post is like a “come together” type post and that’s why I love it SO MUCH. Kudos to you!

    I stayed home with our daughter for several years and then started working at our church. I work there now a couple of days a week and honestly feel like I have the perfect schedule. I get my time with Melody and then I get my adult time; however now that she is starting school I’m like “ahhhh! What am I going to do?!” I’ve never been without my baby for that long every day of the week. #transition lol.

    Glad I found your blog today!

    • August 9, 2016 / 6:21 pm

      I’m glad you found it, too! Thanks so much for reading and for your kind words! Life would be so much better if we could come together and end the mommy wars! I hope you’re not too lonely when your sweet girl is at school… I’m sure you’ll find plenty to keep you occupied… like catching up on years of missed sleep! Ha… if only, right?!

      • August 9, 2016 / 6:27 pm

        haha well I feel kind of bad for saying this but she has actually always been a GREAT sleeper! I guess my hubby will be thankful that I can catch up on laundry 🙂 lol.

        • August 9, 2016 / 6:31 pm

          Both of my girls are champion sleepers, too! But, I’m tired All. The. Time. #monlife

  14. July 29, 2016 / 6:45 pm

    I’m a new SAHM and I absolutely LOVE this post! Very well said.

  15. July 29, 2016 / 4:01 pm

    I’m a SAHM….this literally brought tears to my eyes, I love you for this article!

    • July 29, 2016 / 4:03 pm

      Thank you for reading! I have such respect for SAHM’s!

  16. Jennifer Bolan Ulrich
    July 22, 2016 / 10:51 pm

    Thank you! I’m staying home/teaching from home with my son. My sister’s maternity leave is ending in a few weeks. We’re both doing what’s best for our families. Good to hear from you, Shannon!

    • July 24, 2016 / 8:08 pm

      Jennifer! SO great to hear from you! Congrats on your family! xo

  17. July 22, 2016 / 5:51 pm

    Excellent article. I am so excited for the day I am able to go back to work, but try and remind myself how fortunate I am to be able to be a SAHM.

    • July 24, 2016 / 8:08 pm

      Thanks, Chelle! Every season of life is a gift! Enjoy your time! xo

  18. July 13, 2016 / 11:33 pm

    That was REALLY, REALLY sweet!!!! I love being a SAHM and I seriously do not know how you mamas that work out of the house do it all. You ladies are seriously MAGICAL!!! Keep on keepin’ on, mama!!!!

    • July 13, 2016 / 11:39 pm

      Thank you so much!! SAHM’s work a ton, too!

      • Lori
        November 2, 2016 / 5:12 pm

        I really needed this !!

        • November 3, 2016 / 12:43 am

          I’m so glad, Lori!

  19. novelsbysarah
    June 4, 2016 / 10:22 pm

    🙁 In tears. I really needed to hear this tonight. I struggle a lot with being a SAHM…and the main reason I stay home is because child care costs are out of this world. Even though I have a B.A. in Education Studies, I’m not making money from it…especially the $15k I need to pay off the loan for a degree I can’t use.

    But, today when I dropped off the milk at the house, and then got back in the car and drove my kids to the snowcone place BEFORE dinner at 7:30pm…the look on my kids faces were priceless. Thank you for your open letter…many more people need to see this.

    Sharing….

    Sarah
    http://www.notyourtraditionalfamily.com

    • June 4, 2016 / 10:31 pm

      I’m so glad! A lot of my SAHM friends have chosen to stay home for the reasons you describe. The kicker for me is that I have to work to pay off my student loans. It’s a Catch 22… I went to school to get the job but now I have to keep the job to pay for the school. Sigh. We’re gonna make it, Mama! You’re doing a great job.

      • novelsbysarah
        June 4, 2016 / 10:37 pm

        Thank you! Yeah, if I worked it would pay for daycare. I may carry home $50, and that would likely go to gas. :(. Plus, I homeschool our kids now because the public schools here are terrible. Thanks again for the post!

  20. May 25, 2016 / 3:36 pm

    This totally made me love you! I think both are such hard jobs and both need to be respected more than they are. It is all about what you want and feel is right for your family and should not be judged either way. Xo I get you, too 😘

    • May 25, 2016 / 3:37 pm

      Ah! Thank you so much! You are so right! It’s all about what’s best for each individual family. We gotta stick together!

  21. Heather M.
    May 24, 2016 / 11:14 am

    Working two part time jobs and going to school part time has me in yet another boat.

    I do know that I’m glad to find out I’m not the only one who has skipped pages to get to the end of the bedtime story faster. Although, G isn’t letting that happen anymore! 💜

    • May 24, 2016 / 3:18 pm

      Yeah that’s A LOT to juggle! But you do it well! And, G has always been too quick for his own good. 🙂

      • Lori
        November 2, 2016 / 5:10 pm

        Thank you so much for this ! It means a lot ..

  22. Sunshine040303
    May 24, 2016 / 10:13 am

    Very well written!
    There is way too much mommy shaming today; It adds to our already difficult lives. We need to support and understand one another. What we do as mothers is and will always be our most IMPORTANT job.We are indeed WORLD BUILDERS.
    Having been both a working mom and SAHM mom in my day, (not always by choice) I can sat that one is not better than the other, just different.
    Please keep writing, keep inspiring, continue to let us know we are all important and understood.

I love to hear from you!